Sleeper Spotlight: Seattle’s Outfield Provides Opportunity For Jarrod Dyson & Mitch Haniger

by Ray Kuhn

As we enter the 2017 the Seattle outfield is the land of opportunity for Jarrod Dyson and Mitch Haniger. Both outfielders are the beneficiaries of a change of sceneryr, from Kansas City and Arizona respectively, and with the trade of Seth Smith there path to playing time may have been cleared with Dyson is slated to open the season in left field with Haniger in right (the only potential roadblocks to playing time Seattle’s new additions have is Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia, who are both more of fourth or fifth outfielder types, with Tyler O’Neill also being on radars).

While Dyson has experience dating back to 2010, with a legit role in Kansas City since 2012, Haniger saw his first taste of major league action last summer. The signs, and track record, are there for both and they can be a source of value late in fantasy drafts this spring. Let’s take a look at each player and what we can expect if they receive 500 at bats:

Jarrod Dyson:
It is not a secret that Dyson possess elite speed and that is the only reason why we are discussing him as being fantasy relevant. In fact, that is the only reason why he has been on fantasy radars for the past five seasons while averaging just 253 AB per year.

It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that Dyson finds his way into a lot of games, an average of 101 per season, despite the lack of AB. While he isn’t courted for his skills with the bat, he does just enough (a career .260 hitter) to get on base. Dyson is averaging 31 stolen bases over the last five years, so it is only natural to wonder what he can do with 500 at bats.

Dyson has been lucky in the past, from a stolen base perspective, that he has entered games often as a pinch runner so he doesn’t have to worry about getting on base to steal second. Hoe did walk 8% of the time last season while making contact 86% of the time. He also does a good job of keeping the ball on the ground, which works well with his skill set (56%).

Projecting Dyson’s stolen base total for next season isn’t as simple as doing it as a factor of his at bats. Although the increase in playing time will cause his stolen base total to jump, don’t pay for more than 40 SB. While he will score runs, and not be a liability in batting average, that is the extent of his offensive upside and he will be limited by batting at the bottom of the order.

Mitch Haniger
Beginning in 2013 Haniger had success in the minor leagues, but he never truly put it together until 2015. In 104 games between High-A and Double-A he hit .310 with 13 home runs, 55 home runs and 12 stolen bases. Last season he followed that up by hitting .321 between Double-A and Triple-A with 25 HR while driving in 94 runs and stealing 12 bases in 129 games.

That earned Haniger a promotion to Arizona, and in 34 games he hit .229 with 5 HR and 17 RBI. Were he still with the Diamondbacks he would likely have been a fourth outfielder, but now the right field job appears to be his.

Haniger’s plate skills do need some work, and it is highly unlikely he will hit over .300 as he did the last two seasons. Even if he hits .260, there is still value to be found as a 15/15 season is well within Haniger’s wheel house.

Of the two Haniger is the more well rounded outfielder and is my pick to end the season with the most at bats. Dyson will benefit if, or really when, Leonys Martin misses time with injury, but he is the more specialized player.  It will be interesting to see what both players can do as they get a chance for the first time in their careers.  Both are on my radar as late round picks.

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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings:

Standard League
OBP League
First Base01/16/1703/07/17
Second Base03/22/1703/09/17
Third Base02/06/1703/12/17
Outfield#1-20 |03/16/17

#21-40 |03/16/17
Starting Pitcher#1-20 |02/27/17

#21-40 |03/02/17
Relief Pitcher01/02/17--

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